Nacro has extensive experience of providing successful services in custody and the community to young people who offend and to those who are at risk of offending. Our services help to prevent crime (and where it has already occurred help to prevent reoffending) whilst enabling young people to develop the skills they need to get ahead in life and to build a more positive stake in their community.
At Nacro we understand how important it can be to intervene early before young people get properly involved in crime. We know that, as with adults, there are often other issues at play which can influence a young person’s likelihood to commit crime, including homelessness, education problems, addiction and other health related matters, and difficulties with resettlement or with parenting. So we work with young people to overcome these barriers and teach them to approach things differently and solve problems in a way which does not involve crime. We also provide mentoring services which can help a young person to participate in, and engage with, a programme better and remove barriers to compliance, as well as providing highly structured and positive activities which can open up new possibilities for young people and help provide a bridge to education, training and employment.
We currently run and manage a wide range of projects and training programmes which work with children, young people and their families both inside and outside the youth justice system, including youth inclusion projects, youth inclusion and support panels and other types of programmes, such as those which deal with gang involvement. In London for example, we run gang awareness programmes for 11 to 24 year olds in the boroughs of Westminster and Haringey which offer support and challenge behaviour, helping to steer young people away from gangs, violence and anti-social behaviour and towards employment, training or education, as well as raising aspirations, improving skills and reducing reoffending rates. Our services for young people provide tailored interventions based on each service user’s needs and risks, with individual assessments, effective action plans and case management, on-going wraparound support from assigned mentors, as well as cognitive behavioural preventative work aimed at improving confidence, self-esteem and social skills.
We know that helping young people to continue their education, whether in school or out of school, is vital to steering them away from crime. Young people in trouble seldom do well at school – and not every school does well with young people in trouble. We work with young people to ensure that they build a stake in their education in an environment which is conducive to their learning, which also includes setting rules which are applied consistently, rewarding constructive behaviour and taking prompt and appropriate action to minimise disruption. Nacro also has extensive experience of successfully dealing with the challenges presented by the under 18 year old cohort in a custodial setting. We recognise that an educational or classroom style setting can create an environment in which young people display antagonistic behaviour towards one another or staff. Accordingly, we train our staff and work with prison authorities to minimise the risk of such behaviour occurring and to minimise the prospect of any potential disruption to educational delivery.
Intensive supervision and surveillance
Nacro also runs intensive supervision and surveillance programmes in inner city and rural locations for some of the most high risk and prolific young offenders. The programmes provide support 365 days a year, presenting the court with a robust alternative to custody. We also provide surveillance (via electronic monitoring and the tracking of daily movements) which further contributes to the success of our programmes.
With over 15 years’ experience of running these programmes – Nacro was also chosen to participate in the first ever pilot of this type of programme – we have extensive know-how in this area and our work with Bromley Youth Offending Team was recently cited in an inspection as good practice.
Our intensive supervision and surveillance programmes provide, as a minimum, the following core elements:
- Access to education, training or employment
- Access to restorative justice interventions
- Approaches which tackle offending behaviour effectively
- Family support
- Interpersonal skills
We also deliver bespoke models to different regions based on a complementary service to the local youth offending service. These models range from end-to-end provision (i.e. assessment, court presentation, reviews, programme design and delivery and breach) to delivery of the core elements only but all our programmes are underpinned by the following key features:
- the use of permanent employees to ensure accountability, skills development and the monitoring and quality of delivery
- integration with the youth offending service to ensure effective and appropriate information sharing and joint working
- community integration – using local community groups and mobilising local volunteers to support some elements of the programme
- an innovative approach.